Last week, I posted my regular look at Marvel’s solicits, and found their December offerings severely lacking in terms of female creators. There are only 7 different women scheduled to work on Marvel’s comics in December; by comparison, DC has more than 20, which is still a very small minority. I ended the post by expressing hope that Marvel would make some news at New York Comic-Con. Basically, to quote my new favourite character Maps Mizoguchi, I said that Marvel better cut the crap.
Now, with NYCC wrapped up, Marvel has made a ton of announcements. The stage of their “Women of Marvel” panel was PACKED with female creators, and there were women, real and fictional, all over their new books. Here’s a rundown of what’s coming in 2015:
- The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl, drawn by Erica Henderson.
- A new Spider-Gwen ongoing series.
- Also spinning out of “Spider-Verse” is Silk, with a female lead and art by Stacey Lee.
- Gamora, an ongoing series written by Nicole Perlman.
- G. Willow Wilson is writing at least an arc of X-Men.
- Kate Bishop will be a big part of the soon to be relaunched Hawkeye.
- Kathryn Immonen is writing Operation S.I.N., a mini-series starring Peggy Carter.
- Marguerite Bennett is adapting the James Patterson’ novel Maximum Ride as a mini-series called Max Ride: First Flight.
- A series of variant covers drawn by a variety of female artists, which look like they’ll hit shops in March.
I may have missed something. It was a busy weekend and Marvel announced a lot of things involving women in some capacity. Not being able to keep up with all of it is a good problem to have.
So based on this list, what we’ve got is at least 5 new series with a female lead, 4 new books written by women, and 2 new books drawn by women. While some of these female creators are familiar faces who are already working on Marvel books, there are a lot of new names too. Erica Henderson, Stacey Lee, and Nicole Perlman are new additions entirely, and it’s great to see that two of these names are interior artists, where Marvel is often sorely lacking. Kathryn Immonen’s written a lot for Marvel before, and it’s nice to have her back on a mini-series that sounds like it’s going to be very fun.
In my December solicits report, Marvel had 7 different female creators working on 7 different books. If you add in all of these announcements, Marvel’s up to 13 different women on 13 different books, which is a big jump. Almost double, in fact. This is significant progress for a publisher that’s been fairly stagnant with female creators as of late.
At the same time, Marvel remains far behind DC, which is hardly a bastion of female representation. The NYCC announcements were a big step in the right direction, but they’re no game changer. Plus, both Marvel and DC lag behind comparatively; Boom! Studios puts out about a third of the books that either DC or Marvel do, but they’ve got more female creators scheduled in December than either publisher.
The Marvel announcements are also symptomatic of an odd phenomenon at both major superhero publishers: Female creators are working almost exclusively on female characters. None of them are writing or drawing Spider-Man or Superman. They’re working on the female versions thereof. At best, a couple female creators work on mixed team books. The numbers for women creators are growing at both DC and Marvel, but for some reason they’re being kept away from the higher profile, male heroes. True representation means women working across the board, not just being relegated to the titles with ladies in them, as awesome as so many of those books are right now.
So things are better! Hooray! But there’s still lots of work to be done for female representation at Marvel. In the industry as a whole, really, but Marvel is still comparatively lagging a bit behind among the major publishers, despite this progress. There are folks in Marvel plugging away for more, though, including some kick ass female editors, and everyone is optimistic that each new “Women of Marvel” panel will be increasingly packed with female creators.